Clonmel was a walled town, meaning it was protected on the western, northern and eastern sides by walls reaching over 20ft height. On the southern side of the town was the River Suir. The walls themselves were reinforced with additional earthworks inside the town and a ditch ran along the span of the walls to reduce the possibility of digging underneath unseen. As well as all that the town was defended by Hugh Dubh O’Neill who had arrived in December 1649 with 1,200 of his men from Ulster. He took command of the Garrison and prepared for the possible coming of Cromwell and his forces.
Throughout the months leading up to Cromwell’s arrival at Clonmel, Hugh lost a number of his men to the plague, but these numbers were replenished with the armed men that had left Cashel and Kilkenny after surrender. On the 27th April 1650, Cromwell positioned his army on a hill near the present-day Melview, and breached the walls of the town. In this attack Cromwell lost many men due to the coupure method O’Neill was using. As fighting continued, Cromwell knew that O’Neill’s garrison and supplies were getting depleted and planned to try a fresh assault.
O’Neill’s men were out of ammunition and slipped away under the cover of darkness – making their way to Waterford. Cromwell negotiated a surrender with the town’s mayor, John White, believing that Clonmel was still heavily defended. After agreeing the surrender terms, Cromwell found out that O’Neill was gone and that he had been deceived. Although he was angry he made his men abide by the terms of the agreement. Cromwell had lost almost 2,500 men with hundreds more wounded, his largest ever loss in a single action.
Place4U is situated inside what would have been the northern gate of the town. The walls of Clonmel would have passed very near the present building and the main part of the fighting during Cromwell’s siege would have taken place in that locality. Hence Place4U is a protected building.